Abebe Bikila
Abebe Bikila

Celebrity Profile

Name: Abebe Bikila
Occupation: Runner
Gender: Male
Birth Day: August 7, 1932
Death Date: Oct 25, 1973 (age 41)
Age: Aged 41
Country: Australia
Zodiac Sign: Leo

Social Accounts

Height: in centimeters - N/A
Weight: in kg - N/A
Eye Color: N/A
Hair Color: N/A
Blood Type N/A
Tattoo(s) N/A

Abebe Bikila

Abebe Bikila was born on August 7, 1932 in Australia (41 years old). Abebe Bikila is a Runner, zodiac sign: Leo. Find out Abebe Bikilanet worth 2020, salary 2020 detail bellow.


He won two career Olympic marathon gold medals while running barefoot.

Does Abebe Bikila Dead or Alive?

As per our current Database, Abebe Bikila died on Oct 25, 1973 (age 41).

Net Worth

Net Worth 2020


Salary 2020

Not known

Before Fame

He was discovered by athletic trainer Onni Niskanen while living in a small village in Ethiopia.

Biography Timeline


Abebe Bikila was born on August 7, 1932, in the small community of Jato, then part of the Selale District of Shewa. His birthday coincided with the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Marathon. Abebe was the son of Wudinesh Beneberu and her second husband, Bikila Demissie. During the Second Italo-Ethiopian War (1935–1937), his family was forced to move to the remote town of Gorro. By then, Wudinesh had divorced Abebe's father and married Temtime Kefelew. The family eventually moved back to Jato (or nearby Jirru), where they had a farm.


As a young boy, Abebe played gena, a traditional long-distance hockey game played with goalposts sometimes kilometres apart. Around 1952, he joined the 5th Infantry Regiment of the Imperial Guard after moving to Addis Ababa the year before. During the mid-1950s, Abebe ran 20 km (12 mi) from the hills of Sululta to Addis Ababa and back every day. Onni Niskanen, a Swedish coach employed by the Ethiopian government to train the Imperial Guard, soon noticed him and began training him for the marathon. In 1956, Abebe finished second to Wami Biratu in the Ethiopian Armed Forces championship. According to biographer Tim Judah, his entry in the Olympics was a "long planned operation" and not a last-minute decision, as was commonly thought.


Abebe was 27 when he married 15-year-old Yewebdar Wolde-Giorgis on March 16, 1960. Although the marriage was arranged by his mother, Abebe was happy and they remained married for the rest of his life.

In July 1960, Abebe won his first marathon in Addis Ababa. A month later he won again in Addis Ababa with a time of 2:21:23, which was faster than the existing Olympic record held by Emil Zátopek. Niskanen entered Abebe Bikila and Abebe Wakgira in the marathon at the 1960 Rome Olympics, which would be run on September 10. In Rome, Abebe purchased new running shoes, but they did not fit well and gave him blisters. He consequently decided to run barefoot instead.

On December 13, 1960, while Haile Selassie was on a state visit to Brazil, Imperial Guard forces led by Mengistu began an unsuccessful coup and briefly proclaimed Selassie's eldest son Asfaw Wossen Taffari emperor. Fighting took place in the heart of Addis Ababa, shells detonated in the Jubilee Palace, and many of those closest to the emperor were killed. Although Abebe was not directly involved, he was briefly arrested and questioned. Mengistu was later hanged, and his forces (which included many members of the Imperial Guard) were killed in the fighting, arrested or fled.

Abebe ran the 1963 Boston Marathon—which was between his Olympic wins in 1960 and 1964—and finished fifth in 2:24:43. This was the only time in his competitive career that he completed an international marathon without winning. He and countryman Mamo Wolde, who finished 12th, had run together on record pace for 18 miles, until cold winds and the hills in Newton caused both to fall back. The race was won by Belgium's Aurele Vandendriessche in a course record 2:18:58. Abebe returned to Ethiopia and did not compete in another marathon until 1964 in Addis Ababa. He won that race in a time of 2:23:14.8.


In the 1961 Athens Classical Marathon, Abebe again won while running barefoot. This was the second and last event in which he competed barefooted. The same year he won the marathons in Osaka and Košice. While in Japan, he was approached by a Japanese shoe company, Onitsuka Tiger, with the possibility of wearing its shoes; they were informed by Niskanen that Abebe had "other commitments." Kihachiro Onitsuka suspected that Abebe had a secret sponsorship deal with Puma, in spite of the now-abandoned rules against such deals.


On April 21, 1965, as part of the opening ceremonies for the second season of the 1964–1965 New York World's Fair, Abebe and fellow athlete and Imperial Guardsman Mamo Wolde, ran a ceremonial half-marathon from the Arsenal in Central Park (at 64th Street and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan) to the Singer Bowl at the fair. They carried a parchment scroll with greetings from Haile Selassie.

Abebe has been featured in several documentaries about his life and the Olympics in general. His victory at the 1964 Olympics was featured in the 1965 documentary, Tokyo Olympiad directed by Kon Ichikawa. Footage from that film was recycled in the 1976 thriller, Marathon Man directed by John Schlesinger and starring Dustin Hoffman. Abebe was the subject of Bud Greenspan's 1972 documentary, The Ethiopians. The documentary was incorporated into The Marathon, a 1976 episode of Greenspan's The Olympiad television documentary series. The Marathon, which chronicles Abebe's two Olympic victories, ends with a dedication ceremony for a gymnasium named in Abebe's honour shortly before his death.


The following month, Abebe returned to Japan and won his second Mainichi Marathon, held in Shiga Prefecture. In 1966 he ran marathons at Zarautz and Inchon–Seoul, winning both. The following year, Abebe did not finish the Zarautz International Marathon in July 1967. He had injured his hamstring, an injury from which he would never recover. Abebe had begun to limp, and the 1966 Incheon–Seoul Marathon was the last marathon he ever completed.


In July 1968, he travelled to Germany for treatment of "circulatory ailments" in his legs; the German government refused to accept payment for the medical services. Abebe returned in time to join the rest of the Ethiopian Olympic team training in Asmara, which has an altitude (2,200 m or 7,200 ft) and climate similar to Mexico City (the host of the next Olympic Games).


In 1970, Abebe began training for wheelchair-athlete archery competitions. In July, he competed in archery and table tennis at the Stoke Mandeville Wheelchair Games in London. The following April, Abebe participated in games for the disabled in Norway. Although he had been invited as a guest, he competed in archery and table tennis and defeated a field of sixteen in cross-country sled dog racing with a time of 1:16:17.


He is a national hero in Ethiopia, and a stadium in Addis Ababa is named in his honour. In late 1972, the American Community School of Addis Ababa dedicated its gymnasium (which included facilities for the disabled) to Abebe.


On October 25, 1973, Abebe died in Addis Ababa at age 41 of a cerebral hemorrhage, a complication related to his accident four years earlier. He was buried with full military honours; his state funeral was attended by an estimated 65,000 people including Emperor Haile Selassie, who proclaimed a day of mourning for the country's national hero. Abebe is interred in a tomb with a bronze statue at Saint Joseph Church in Addis Ababa.


In 1992, Yamada Kazuhiro published the first full biography about Abebe, written in Japanese and published in Tokyo; it was entitled Do you remember Abebe? (Japanese: アベベを覚えてますか). Since then, there have been at least three biographical works based on his life. Among these is Triumph and Tragedy, written in English by his daughter Tsige Abebe and published in Addis Ababa in 1996. The other two, also written in English, are Paul Rambali's 2007 fictional biographical novel Barefoot Runner and Tim Judah's 2009 Bikila: Ethiopia's Barefoot Olympian. According to the journalist Tim Lewis's comparative review of the two books, Judah's is a more journalistic, less-forgiving biography of Abebe. It refutes the mythical aspects of his life but recognises Abebe's athletic accomplishments. Judah's account of Abebe's life differs significantly from Rambali's, but confirms (and frequently cites) Tsige's biography. For example, Lewis cites the discrepancy in the circumstances surrounding Abebe's car accident:


On March 21, 2010, the Rome Marathon observed the 50th anniversary of his Olympic victory. The winner, Ethiopian runner Siraj Gena, ran the last 300 m (984 ft) of the race barefoot and received a €5,000 bonus. A plaque commemorating the anniversary is mounted on a wall on the Via di San Gregorio, and a footbridge in Ladispoli was named in Abebe's honour.

According to Abebe's New York Times obituary, Abebe and Yewebdar had three sons, along with their daughter Tsige. In 2010, the Italian company Vibram introduced the "Bikila" model of its FiveFingers line of minimalist shoes. In February 2015, Abebe's surviving children Teferi, Tsige and Yetnayet Abebe Bikila, along with their mother, filed a lawsuit in United States federal court in Tacoma, Washington, claiming Vibram violated federal law and the state's Personality Rights Act. The case was dismissed in October 2016 on the grounds that the plaintiffs were aware of Vibram's use of the name in 2011, but did not file suit until four years later. According to judge Ronald Leighton, "... this unreasonable delay prejudiced Vibram."


It came to light in December 2019 that the family of Abebe received his Olympic ring that he lost at the Tokyo Olympic stadium's bathroom. Abebe left his winning ring in a bathroom after he won the olympic medal. A woman who was working in the bathroom at that time took it home with her. The woman has since died, but her son said his mom later regretted taking the ring and was waiting for an opportunity to return it. He gave the ring to Yetnayet, son of the late Abebe, when Yetnayet came to Kasama City in Japan in December 2019 as a guest of honor for the half marathon competition conducted in honor of his father.

Family Life

Abebe had four children: Dawit, Tsige, Yetnayet, and Teferia.

🎂 Upcoming Birthday

Currently, Abebe Bikila is 90 years, 9 months and 26 days old. Abebe Bikila will celebrate 91st birthday on a Monday 7th of August 2023. Below we countdown to Abebe Bikila upcoming birthday.


Recent Birthday Highlights

86th birthday - Tuesday, August 7, 2018

84th birthday - Sunday, August 7, 2016

Ethiopians and Friends of Ethiopia Run Bare feet | Ethiofidel.com

Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia run bare feet. Ethiopian studies a the University of Toronto close to being a reality On Saturday ,Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia came to The Varsity Stadium dow

Abebe Bikila 84th birthday timeline
81st birthday - Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Google has dedicated its home page for the 81st birthday of Abebe Bikila


Abebe Bikila 81st birthday timeline

Abebe Bikila trends


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